Sunday, January 10, 2010

By Jason Kendall

Four separate areas of study make up a full CompTIA A+; you're thought of as competent at A+ when you've gained exams for 2 out of 4 subjects. For this reason, the majority of training establishments offer only two of the training courses. In reality it's necessary to have the teaching in all areas as many jobs will ask for an awareness of the whole A+ program. It isn't necessary to qualify in them all, although it would seem prudent that you at least have a working knowledge of every area.

A+ computer training courses cover fault-finding and diagnostics - both remote access and hands-on, alongside building and fixing and understanding antistatic conditions.

You might also choose to think about adding the CompTIA Network+ training as you can then also take care of computer networks, which means greater employment benefits.

We need to make this very clear: You have to get round-the-clock 24x7 instructor and mentor support. We can tell you that you'll strongly regret it if you don't follow this rule rigidly.

Find a good quality service with proper support available at any time you choose (even if it's early hours on Sunday morning!) Ensure you get direct access to tutors, and not access to a call-in service which takes messages - so you're constantly waiting for a call-back at a convenient time for them.

Keep your eyes open for training programs that incorporate three or four individual support centres around the globe in several time-zones. All of them should be combined to give a single entry point and 24x7 access, when it's convenient for you, with no hassle.

Search out a training school that offers this level of study support. Only proper round-the-clock 24x7 support delivers what is required.

Remember: the actual training or an accreditation isn't what this is about; the particular job that you want to end up in is. Far too many training organisations put too much weight in the qualification itself.

It's possible, for instance, to obtain tremendous satisfaction from a year of studying only to end up putting 20 long years into something completely unrewarding, entirely because you stumbled into it without the correct level of soul-searching at the beginning.

Set targets for how much you want to earn and what level of ambition fits you. This will influence what qualifications you'll need to attain and what'll be expected of you in your new role.

Have a conversation with someone that has a commercial understanding of the realities faced in the industry, and who can give you a detailed description of what you actually do in that role. Getting all these things right long before commencement of any training programme will prevent a lot of wasted time and effort.

The sometimes daunting task of landing your first computer related job is often made easier by training colleges, through a Job Placement Assistance service. It can happen though that there is more emphasis than is necessary on this service, for it's really not that difficult for well qualified and focused men and women to find work in this industry - because companies everywhere are seeking qualified personnel.

Help with your CV and interview techniques is sometimes offered (if it isn't, consult one of our sites). Make sure you work on your old CV today - don't leave it till you pass the exams!

Quite often, you'll land your initial role while you're still a student (even when you've just left first base). If you haven't updated your CV to say what you're studying (and it isn't in the hands of someone with jobs to offer) then you aren't even in the running!

Most often, a local IT focused employment agency (who will, of course, be keen to place you to receive their commission) will be more pro-active than a centralised training company's service. They should, of course, also know the local area and commercial needs.

To bottom line it, as long as you focus the same level of energy into landing a job as into training, you're not going to hit many challenges. A number of people bizarrely put hundreds of hours into their training course and then call a halt once qualified and seem to suppose that interviewers know they're there.

A so-called advisor who doesn't dig around with lots of question - chances are they're actually nothing more than a salesman. If they push a particular product before looking at your personality and current experience level, then it's definitely the case.

Occasionally, the starting point of study for someone with some experience will be substantially different to the student with none.

If this is going to be your opening crack at an IT exam then you may want to start with a user-skills course first.

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